Scottish funds target deprived

March 23, 2001

The Scottish Higher Education Funding Council is boosting teaching and research funding by 4 per cent in cash terms as part of an overall 8.5 per cent cash increase for universities.

Its £672 million allocation for 2001-02 includes £488 million for teaching and £155 million for research (£613 million of the total has been allocated this week). But it has signalled that in return for the increase, it wants to see institutions tackle key government priorities of improving social inclusion, quality, the knowledge base and human resource management.

There will be a condition of grant in coming years, linking core funding to how well institutions are delivering on major policies. Shefc is funding an extra 1,000 full-time equivalent student places, 400 of which are part time, to support widening access. And £3 million has been earmarked for the 5 per cent premium aimed at helping retain entrants from underrepresented groups. This targets entrants from postcode areas where participation is less than half of the UK national average. Institutions will get some £5 for each year of the student's course, but will have to tell Shefc how they plan to use the money.

The four west of Scotland universities, Glasgow Caledonian, Glasgow, Paisley and Strathclyde, whose hinterland includes Scotland's most socially deprived areas, are the biggest winners of the premium. GCU, whose main teaching grant is just over £37 million, gets the largest increase of £500,000. This compares with £142,000 for Edinburgh University, whose main teaching grant is almost £67 million.

University funding has risen by an average 5.3 per cent. The lowest increase is 4.3 per cent for both Edinburgh and Aberdeen universities, while Paisley has the highest at 7.9 per cent.

Shefc has slashed funding to support strategic change in the sector from £12 million to £9 million, but is giving institutions an extra £10 million for science research infrastructure before the science research investment fund comes on stream in 2002-03. It has also increased the Joint Information Systems Committee budget from £5.6 million to £7.7 million.

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